The Italian woman and her birds

So we’re back from our two-week house swap in Rome. Great trip, spectacular city, beautiful people. If you’re like me, and the idea of taking two or three weeks to hit Europe seems, well, overly expensive, the house exchange route is a good one. Really.

Alas, I digress. One thing that really struck me about Rome was the oddball combination of 8,000 churches and 8,000 visibly homeless pe0ple. The two numbers tie together, because outside every church seemed to be a poor panhandler, hoping those exiting a place of God might feel more compelled to toss out a Euro or two. In one of my proudest moments as a father, my 8-year-old daughter spotted a woman asking for help and said, “I’d like to give some of my money to her.” And—whether it was wise or not—she did. (I’m not necessarily endorsing the practice. But I was blown away by the girl’s big heart).

Of all the people we saw, the woman above stuck with me. We were sitting at a restaurant, eating our overpriced pasta alongside dozens of others also eating their overpriced pasta. Though, mere yards away, a woman sat in soiled clothes, talking to the birds through a cloud of cigarette smoke, nobody paid her any mind. It was if if she were invisible.

Anyhow, that’s about it.